A surgeon known as Dr. Frankenstein has candidly revealed the downsides of genital reconstruction surgery on transgender children and adults, in a video that has since been deleted.
In the video, Dr Blair Peters, a self-described ‘queer surgeon’ with ‘he/she’ pronouns, pink hair and a ‘passion’ for genital surgery, says patients face fertility, sexual pleasure and other lifelong post-operation complications.
Perhaps more telling is how Dr. Peters — who works at one of America’s most progressive hospitals — presents his procedures, some of which involve robotics, as experimental.
He says he’s ‘finding out what works’ and his team will know more in the next ‘five to 10 years.’
Surgically reassigning male and female genitalia to match the opposite sex, or completely removing patients’ privates, is widely understood as a difficult and problematic procedure.
The pink-haired ‘queer surgeon’ from Oregon has tens of thousands of followers on social media
Creating a neo-vagina is fraught with post-op complications
Proponents of gender-affirming care, as it’s known, say they’re rare but vital for some trans people. Critics say they should be banned, especially for children, and that patients need counseling, not cutting.
Dr. Peters, a top plastic surgeon at Oregon Health and Science University (OHSU), made this admission in a 37-minute interview with Dr. Brianna Durand of Empower Physiotherapy in Seattle.
The original video post from last year appears to have been deleted, but has since been retrieved from an archive and recently shared on social media. Viewers called the methods ‘evil’ and compared them to Nazi-era experiments.
Conservative scholar Christopher Ruffo has compared Dr. Peters to another physician, the fictional experimenter who creates a monster from body parts in Mary Shelley’s 1818 novel Frankenstein.
OHSU, Dr. Peters and Dr. Durand did not respond to our requests for comment. OHSU’s Gender Clinic is well-regarded among trans patients; The waiting period for some procedures extends to two years.
In the video, Dr. Peters describes advances in phalloplasty and vaginoplasty, using a robot controlled by a second surgeon to create a ‘neo-vagina’ from tissue from the penis and testicles.
He describes wholesale genital removal for non-binary patients, an increasingly popular procedure known as ‘nullification’.
Controversially, he addressed the ‘handful of puberty-suppressed teenagers’ undergoing genital surgery at OHSU – referring to minors who took puberty blockers to delay growth spurts.
Dr. Blair identifies himself as a ‘queer surgeon’ on his social media accounts
A phalloplasty procedure, as described in a medical text book
With boy-to-girl transitioners, he said, surgeons ‘don’t have enough tissue’ to create a neo-vagina and have to graft skin from elsewhere.
‘We’re kind of learning and finding out what works,’ said Dr Peters.
Patients often have problems after surgery, the doctor added.
They may suffer from ‘anal injuries and urinary incontinence’, he said. Others struggle to derive ‘sexual satisfaction’ from altered body parts and have even worse prospects for ‘future childbearing’.
Some have ‘really demanding post-operative care processes’, he adds.
Almost every male-to-female genital surgery recipient sees their neo-vaginal canal shorten over time, he said.
‘We’ve seen patients come back more than 20 years after vaginoplasty who have had something happen in their life that they just don’t stretch and don’t have sex for a year and they lose a lot. A lot of depth,’ says Dr Peters.
Dr. Peters said his techniques and success rates are improving as more Americans — both young and old — opt for genital surgery, but there is still much to learn in this new frontier of medicine.
“We’re going to learn a lot more about this over the next five to 10 years as we increase the number of these cases,” he said.
Dr. Peters and other proponents of trans medicine present the surgeries as a trade-off, acknowledging significant drawbacks, but saying it’s important for those with serious discomfort in their own bodies.
What could go wrong? Colin Clive, as Dr. Frankenstein, prepares to bring his monster to life in a scene from the 1931 movie version of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein.
A survey of more than 500 transgender adults by The Washington Post and KFF, a health-focused nonprofit, revealed that surgery was rare.
Yet, they are rare in the transgender community.
According to research by the Washington Post and KFF, a health charity, of the estimated 1.6 million trans and non-binary Americans age 13 and older, only 31 percent take cross-sex hormones and 16 percent opt for surgery.
Most surgeries are breast removal for female-to-male transitioners.
Genital surgery on children is rare and highly controversial. Even the World Professional Association for Transgender Health, which advocates for gender-affirming care worldwide, says the procedure should not be attempted on children.
In the US, Republicans have tried to ban puberty blockers, hormones or surgery for minors in about 20 states this year. Sweden, Finland, the UK and other European countries have restricted or closed trans care for children.
Dr. Peters and OHSU have faced criticism for their progressive approach in the past.
Last year, Dr. Peters faced backlash for a since-deleted tweet after he commented about performing mastectomy surgery on three young adults and a teenager in one day.
Another OHSU physician, Dr. Nicholas Gideons, controversially became the first US professional to help terminally ill Americans travel out of state to receive Oregon’s deadly cocktail of drugs to end their lives.
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